Pity the poor Eastern Europeans. Fifty years under the domination of
their massive Soviet eastern neighbor then the collapse of Communism
there two decades ago offered undreamed of opportunities to join both
the European Union and NATO.
But they still remain dependent on the Russian Federation for the majority of their oil and gas needs, and the new capitalists in Moscow do not hesitate to charge the highest prices possible.
According a number of East European nations, particularly Poland and Bulgaria, are actively investigating the possibility of establishing hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") operations on their territory to develop an indigenous natural gas industry and undercut the Russian Federation’s state-owned natural gas monopoly Gazprom.
Mindful however of the possible negative environmental effects of fracking last month 166 members of the Bulgarian National Assembly’s 240 parliamentarians voted to impose an indefinite ban on shale gas exploration and extraction in Bulgaria using hydraulic fracturing or other similar technology.
Now a hard-hitting editorial in the Trud newspaper by Ivan Sotirov entitled, "Russian Lobby Against Shale Gas," accuses pro-Russian Bulgarian supporters of fomenting protests against shale gas operations in the country.
Commenting that “nightmare” protest rallies against fracking have taken place in the capital’s Sofia streets Sotirov wrote of their effects, “The ostensibly rightist majority at the National Assembly has capitulated, without any serious arguments, to this pseudo-civic pressure, and has adopted a moratorium on prospecting and extracting shale gas in Bulgaria. In other words, the National Assembly has banned Bulgaria from learning whether it has shale gas deposits - information which could have released us from the total energy dependence on Russia. The majority in the National Assembly has allowed the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP), the Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS), and several semi self-disintegrating mini-parties to insult the Minister of Energy (Traycho Traykov), who has been appointed by the same confused and helpless majority… It has been inadmissible for the chairman of the Union of Democratic Forces (Martin Dimitrov) and rightist deputies to support this decision, which contradicts the Bulgarian national interest and protects our total energy dependence on Russia. In addition, all this has been done without any serious motivation because the campaign against the shale gas prospecting has been based on cheap manipulations and lies. This has been an attempt to disguise a political issue as a purely ecological matter.”